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    Thursday, December 13, 2007

    USS North Carolina sets sail

    The USS North Carolina (my home state) set sail for Alpha trials today. This is the official US Navy picture. Bubblehead has more over at his site. The ultimate plan is to have this ship commissioned in April 2008 in Wilmington, NC, across from the WW2 battleship North Carolina, now doing duty as a museum ship in the mud across the Cape Fear river from Wilmington. Of course, there are those concerned about issues with welds on Virginia class subs.

    The Navy said that before sending the North Carolina to sea, the Navy and Newport News assessed about 15,000 piping welds.

    "The North Carolina would not have gone out to sea if there was any question about the quality of the welds," a spokesmodel said. Besides the submarine's crew of about 137, others aboard for its first ocean run included shipyard President Mike Petters and Rear Adm. William Hilarides, the Navy's program executive officer for submarines.

    It will be submerged for the first time, conduct high-speed runs, and undergo other tests of its design, systems, components and compartments.

    After it returns, it will go for a second trial run designed to test its weapons systems.

    NN still expects to deliver the North Carolina to the Navy in January, a few weeks past its December contract date.

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